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June 26, 1972

Generation Gap

Author Affiliations

Department of Neurology University of Cincinnati College of Medicine Cincinnati General Hospital Cincinnati

JAMA. 1972;220(13):1738-1739. doi:10.1001/jama.1972.03200130066017

"Some day, maybe, there will exist a well-informed, wellconsidered, and yet fervent public conviction that the most deadly of all possible sins is the mutilation of a child's spirit; for such mutilation undercuts the life principle of trust, without which every human act, may it feel ever so good and seem ever so right, is prone to perversion by destructive forms of conscientiousness."

Erik Erikson

It might be that adults are the inadvertent models of noncommunication between the generations. While the succeeding generations may originate, they hardly do so in a vacuum. "Generation gap" resounds with such frequency these days that it is already a cliché; although, any break between generations, even a break in communication only, could be the swan song of humanity.

The formative years are as good a place as any to examine for reasons that the generations do not communicate. Looking back to childhood—and one rarely